Apr 11, 2015

McKean the Mean Machine

A Winning Tradition

  • NCAA D-III National Champions (2004)
  • Eight NCAA D-III National Tournaments (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
  • One NCAA Regional Championship (West 2004)
  • 10 Northwest Conference Championships (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
  • 19 straight seasons .500 or better (1996-2014)
  • Eight Top 30 national rankings (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014)
  • 23 All-Americans
  • One National Pitcher of the Year (Scott Hyde - 2004)
  • One D3Baseball.com All-West Region Rookie of the Year (Matt Voelzke - 2017)
  • 10 Academic All-Americans
  • One NCAA National Coach of the Year
  • One NCAA Region Coach of the Year
  • 10 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • Five NAIA District Tournaments (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994)
  • Three NAIA Disctrict Championships (1991, 1992, 1993)
  • Five NAIA Regional Tournaments (1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998)
  • Two NAIA Distrcit Coach of the Years
  • 22 players signed to professional contracts
  • Three Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Finalists (Derrick Jones - 2005, Scott Hyde - 2004, Eric Bell - 2003)
  • One Slats Gill Coach of the Year Award (Pat Bailey - 2004 finalist)
  • One George Fox Pasero Team of the Year (2004)

By: Ryan Lackey

PORTLAND, Ore. --- George Fox University's baseball team got off to a great start Saturday, taking the first two games in a three game series with the Pioneers of Lewis and Clark.

Game 1

Seven top-notch innings from starter Ian Buckles kept the Bruins in the game long enough for the offense to break through during the first game of Saturday's double-header against Lewis & Clark. Buckles gave up just one run over his seven innings, and Tom Zarosinski closed out the game with a near-perfect two innings of relief.

Though the Bruins were held scoreless until the sixth, runs came in bunches soon afterwards. AJ Valencia, Andrew Reichenbach, and Jake Thran all had two RBIs. Clay Mott went 2-4 and scored twice, and Brandon Wileman also finished with a pair of hits.

The Bruins nearly broke through in the first, but, despite runners on second and third with one out, they managed no runs. In fact, there was little offense at all until the sixth, when Wileman dropped down a bunt single, and Valencia sacrificed him to second. Wileman went to third on Rapacz's single and scored on Reichenbach's sacrifice fly.

Holding a 1-0 lead, the Bruins put the game away in the eighth with five more runs. Mott, Wileman, and Valencia all singled to start the inning, with Mott scoring on Valencia's base hit. From there, Reichenbach pounded a double to score another run, and Riley McKean plated another on an inch-perfect bunt. The Bruins scored the fourth and fifth on Thran's single through the right side.

In the ninth, George Fox added one more unnecessary bit of insurance, when Valencia's moonshot sacrifice fly let Mott race home with the seventh run.

The 7-1 victory means the Bruins are 15-18 going into Saturday's second game, with a very respectable 11-8 conference record.

Game 2

Riley McKean's performance in the Bruins' 15-4 win over Lewis & Clark in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader was the sort that transcends the contexts of league, team, and time – maybe even the individual player himself. In fact, athletic feats like McKean's make statements about the very nature of possibility and sport: this is the sort of thing that one person can do.

For a little context, the hundred-plus years of professional baseball, for example, we have only 81 confirmed cases of players recording six hits in a single game, including a few notable names: Ty Cobb, Cal Ripken, Sammy Sosa.

On Saturday, not only did McKean notch six hits, but he also knocked in six runs and scored four more.

He also found the time to drill two home runs.

In fact, the Bruins' lineup from top to bottom was locked-in. Leadoff hitter AJ Valencia went 2-5 and had two runs scored. Zach Rapacz went 2-4 with a homer and drove in three. Jake Thran two hits, runs, and RBIs. Catcher Tyler Hamilton finished 3-5.

All this offense made the Bruin arms' job fairly straightforward. Starter Sean Eberhart threw six more than serviceable innings, giving up four runs, none of which were earned. Reliever Muller closed out the blowout victory with three stellar innings of relief.

The game nearly turned out very differently. Though the Bruins scored first, plating one in the second, an error and a passed ball – plus a couple base hits – let the Pioneers score four unearned runs and take the lead. But the Bruins resurged immediately, racking up five in the third on round trippers from Rapacz and Thran.

Thus protecting a 6-1 lead, the Bruins would comfortably add runs throughout the game. McKean blasted his first homer as part of a three-run fourth. Rapacz banged in one in the fifth, and Hamilton scored another. McKean launched a solo shot in the sixth, and Clay Mott brought one in on a fielder's choice in the eighth. In the ninth, McKean struck again, lining a single down the left field line to post runs fourteen and fifteen for the Bruins.

Saturday's doubleheader was wildly successful for the Bruins, and they leave boasting a 16-18 overall record and an excellent 12-8 mark in conference. The Bruins play a third game with Lewis & Clark tomorrow at noon.